Woman of the Century/Harriet Newell Kneeland Goft
GOFF, Mrs. Harriet Newell Kneeland, temperance reformer and author, born in Watertown, N. Y., 10th October, 1828, of New England parentage. Her father, Mr. Kneeland, was a mechanic, but possessed strong literary inclinations and was a frequent contributor to the press of his day. He died while still young. His daughter was a quiet, thoughtful, old-fashioned child, with quaint speech, odd and original ideas, delicate health and extreme sensibility to criticism. When eleven years of age, she was received into the Presbyterian Church, and has retained that connection. A year previously her mother had removed to Pennsylvania and again married. In the step-father's house she often met itinerant lecturers upon temperance and anti-slavery, and she read with avidity the publications upon those subjects, and Sunday-school and other religious books. At sixteen she began to teach a public school in a country district, boarding among her pupils. During several years, teaching alternated with study, mainly in Grand River Institute, Ohio. At twenty-two she relinquished her cherished purpose of becoming a missionary, and became the wife of Azro Goff, a young merchant and post-master in the town of her residence, but continued her studies. A few years later they were passengers upon the steamer Northern Indiana when it was burned upon Lake Erie, with the loss of over thirty lives; and while clinging to a floating plank new views of human relations and enforced isolations opened before her, and she there resolved henceforth to follow the leadings of her own conscience. She has devoted much time and effort to the unfortunate.preferring those least heeded by others. For many years she was a contributor to the public press, her first article being published in the "Knickerbocker." She entered the temperance lecture field in 1870, and has traveled throughout the United States, in Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, speaking more or less extensively in all. and under various auspices. In 1872 she was delegated by three societies of Philadelphia, where she then resided, to attend the prohibition convention in Columbus, Ohio, and there she became the first woman ever placed upon a nominating committee to name candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency of the United States. To her presence and inHuence was due the incorporation of woman's suffrage into the platform of that party at that time. She published her first book, "Was it an Inheritance?" (Philadelphia, 1876) and early the next year she became traveling correspondent of the New York "Witness," besides contributing to "Arthur's Home Magazine." the "Sunday-school Times," the "Independent " and other journals. In 1880 she published her second book, issuing the sixth edition that year. Her third volume was, "Who Cares" (Philadelphia, 1887). Adhering to the British branch in the rupture of the Order of Good Templars. Mrs. Goff was in 1878 elected Right Worthy Grand Vice-Templar, and the following year was re-elected in HARRIET NEWELL KNEELAND GOFF. Liverpool, England, over so popular a candidate as Mrs. Margaret Bright Lucas, on account of her acceptable and still desired services in the supervision and secretaryship of the order in America. She joined and lectured for the Woman's Temperance Crusade early in 1874 in several States, was a leader in the organization and work of the Woman’s Temperance Association of Philadelphia, afterwards rechristened the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. She was a delegate therefrom to the first national convention of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Cleveland, Ohio, and again from the New York State Union to the convention in Nashville, Tenn.. in 1887. Her especial work from 1S86 to 1892 was for the employment of police matrons in Brooklyn, N Y., her place of residence for the past fourteen years, whence she removed to Washington, D. C. in 1892. As committee of the New York State Union she endeavored to procure such amendments of an ineffective law as would place every arrested woman in the State in care of an officer of her own sex. For this she has labored with her usual diligence, drafting and circulating petitions, originating bills, interviewing mayors, commissioners, councilmen, committees of senate and assembly, and individual members of those bodies, and governors on behalf of the measure, and by personal observations in station-house cells and lodging-rooms, jails and courts, originated or substantiated her every argument. She is a believer in the cause of woman suffrage.